By: Dorothy Quek
The news of Aleppo’s demise came to light, but as humans, we are no longer surprised by what our own kind can do to each other anymore. Not long before Aleppo’s final evacuation, their own residents sent out last calls, videos, and tweets for help, claiming that the bombs were going to kill them all. Yet it took 7 agonising days before help was sent to evacuate the remaining civilians. Even so, evacuation was not smooth, and many buses carrying the remaining civilians remained stuck at the checkpoint, help and supplies halted, for days.
As the last bus leaves Aleppo deserted of its very own people, whatever is left of humanity deserts us as well.
Aleppo’s demise took close to 5 years, which means 5 years of suffering and 5 years of surviving in the war-torn area by their civilians. Yet, the truth of the damage only comes to light after so long. In comparison to the Paris attacks which were brought up by so many celebrities, even with its own hashtag of “#PrayforParis” trending, attacks in Aleppo were sidelined, swept under the carpet and ignored for so long. Their desperate pleas for help were met by complete, and condemning, silence.
Why? Because in all truth of the matter, Paris is a popular first-world city, but Aleppo is a city of ruins many do not even bat an eyelash about. Were our hearts really torn apart by the attacks happening all over the world? Or were we just heartless to begin with?
When we think about it, besides the fact that both places had a difference in its standard of living, are Paris and Aleppo not very similar places? They are both places filled with civilians–with children dreaming of bright futures and parents working themselves to the bone trying to provide for their families up until just before the attacks struck. And yet, Paris bounced back immediately, but Aleppo never did.
People cluck their tongues at the fact that no one bothered to help Aleppo, but it is us who are responsible for destroying the city. We are all humans, we’re all of equal standing, yet some have more capabilities and abilities to destroy others and rob them of their lives.
And—selfishly—we do it.
The Battle for Aleppo between the Syrian Army and its opposition forces only proved the end of humanity, civilians ruthlessly murdered, homes and families destroyed by the bombs. Even then, they did not stop. There are stories of the Syrian Army, who should supposedly defend their own people, raping and killing. When the people who should be protecting us turn against us, who and what should we believe in? Although Aleppo is now fully destroyed, the war does not end.
What exactly has humanity come to? From chasing their own people out of the country, to destroying families, to ignoring their pleas for help—is this what is left of us? The destruction we have caused has now numbed our senses to the world, and I fear that we will eventually cease to be anything. We brought it upon ourselves, yet we complain about it selfishly. When all is destroyed and we have nothing left, will we come to regret it? Like Aleppo, a city that tried to stand its ground for 5 long years, we will crumble into dust and fade away as well.